Thursday, August 27, 2009

Serial Short Stories

One of the things that I am looking for is a serial of short stories. Either the same characters in different situations each installment or a story arc over the series. I've gotten several submissions for the serial and I have come to the realization that I am not properly explaining what I am looking for.

A story that is told in sections with section breaks does not necessarily make a good serialization. Each installment needs to stand on it's own. A small story inside a big story. The best way to illustrate this is two very popular movies Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. (If you haven't seen one, you've probably seen the other.)

When George Lucas made the original Star Wars movie, he didn't know if he would ever be able to tell the whole story, so he pulled out Episode Four "A New Hope" and made that as the original Star Wars. ... Episode Four ... Not Episode One ... And it stands on it's own. Each of the six movies that he made in the series stands on it's own. A person can watch just one of those movies and walk away feeling like a story had been told. There's a beginning, a middle, and an end. He had to do it that way because there was three years between the release of each episode in the two sets of trilogies. The story wasn't finished until the last movie was made, but there was a defineable break at the end of each movie. And each movie stands on it's own. Episode One is about freeing the planet of Naboo from the Trade Federation blockade, Episode Two is about the start of The Clone Wars, Episode Three how Anakin becomes Darth Vader and so on.

Lord of the Rings, the movie not the book, is also a good example of how to do a story with episodes or installments. Each movie can stand on it's own. They have a beginning, a middle, and an end. If you get the Special Extended Version DVD set, the story is broken into six parts which you can watch on six successive nights. You're not stopping in the middle of the story, you're stopping at the end of each small story which make up the bigger story. Each part can stand on it's own. In the case of the movies, each part had to stand on it's own for a year until the next part of the trilogy came out.

I'm still interested in a serialized short story to include in Emerald Tales, but a story with section breaks isn't necessarily a good story to serialize. Each part or installment needs a beginning, a middle, and an end. It has to be able to stand on it's own because the reader may not get a chance to read the other parts of it.


  1. Great examples. I hope it solves your problem.

  2. From your post above, I know my shorts don't fit what you're looking for. But, if you would still like to look, here's my site: